Tipukonvehti: Knits of Dreams

Tipukonvehti is the one-woman Finnish knit design brand by artisan Maija Toukolehto’s, that believes in slow production. The brand was born out of a passion for combining colours and materials in unexpected ways and creating unique patterns. Tipukonvehti’s locally handmade, experimental, knitted textiles are all one of a kind, individual pieces. The colour combinations and patterns often come to to the designer in her dreams. Maija then experiments with her vision and attempts to conjure up a garment, often resulting in psychedelic colours and innovative blends. Owners of Tipukonvehti garments therefore carry colour dreams.

Combining materials freely allows interesting new worlds of colours and patterns to appear. This describes Maija’s creative process well; her working method is experimental and products created are steps in a longer creative process. She loves trying out new colour combinations on a whim, hence sometimes having less successful experiments. This is all apart of the process. Garments that have similar patterns and colours create a story when combined together . Consequently, the designer’s approach towards garment creation and material is more artistic than productive, making it inherently slow. Maija’s other professions as painter, decorator and industrial designer also offer a different perspective on knitting, pattern and colour designing.

Designer Maija works out of a small industrial town called Åminnefors in Raasepori, Southern Finland. In her atelier she knits, sews, paints and at times hosts intimate viewings of her work. With her extensive yarn collection, she can just pick a colour and material that she needs to implement an idea in practice. The yarns used by Maija are produced in Finland, Latvia, Italy and Estonia. The aim is to obtain yarn directly from small local producers thus supporting small businesses. Her values for her knitting also applies to the suppliers she chooses to work with. The yarns used are made out of environmentally friendly natural materials like tencel, wool, linen and silk.

maija’s approach towards garment creation and material is more artistic than productive

The maker Maija Toukolehto mainly uses a knitting technique called Fair Isle to create the patterns. The Fair Isle pattern is a design created by weaving many colored yarns into a motif. It owes its name to ‘Fair Isle’, a tiny island to the north of Scotland.  Makers of Fair Isle knits create their own interpretations of a myriad of traditional patterns to create their own unique fingerprint. On the island, this is how one could determine whose work each knit design initially was.

In traditional Fair Isle knitting, only two colours of yarn are used per row and a pattern row is never repeated. Nowadays the rules are not so set in stone. Designers have taken more liberty in creating their own style. It is not certain how this knitting technique originated and where the inspiration came from. However, the most likely explanation is that patterned knitting made its way onto the island from the Baltic nations. Fair Isle knitting incorporates motifs and patterns that are found around the world. For instance Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Norway and as far as the Middle East. The island was located on a trade route, so many ships stopped here along the way. These days, Fair Isle refers to any stranded colour knitting and doesn’t necessary include traditional motifs from the island.

makers of Fair Isle knits create their own interpretations of traditional patterns to create their own fingerprint

Written by Jennie Barck

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